IBM launches Net tools for small businesses
March 19, 1999
by Cheri Paquet
(IDG) -- IBM announced on Wednesday new Web tools, notebooks, and services that will enable small companies to design Web pages, back up their data, and take their business on the road.
It is important for companies in the small-business market to get online and to look at e-commerce opportunities, said Alicia Peck, a spokesperson for IBM's Consumer Software division. "The specific barriers preventing small companies from entering into e-commerce are that they think they need an MIS person and a lot of money to get online," Peck said.
Web authoring software, services
IBM announced its NetObjects TopPage Web authoring software, which according to the company allows users without programming skills to build professional-quality Web pages. TopPage includes the tools to create a Web site, a multimedia tutorial that aides users in designing their Web page, and tools to manage Web page content. Currently available, TopPage is priced at $59.95.
To create more colorful Web pages, IBM announced its PerfectPhoto design and imaging software that lets users manipulate digital shots or scanned photographs and incorporate them into their Web page. PerfectPhoto includes a multimedia slide show feature that matches moving photos with music and sounds, a step-by-step tutorial and an online guide. PerfectPhoto, available now, costs $39.95.
For users who want to conduct online transactions, IBM announced an upgraded version of its Startup2 for E-Business software, which gets small businesses up and running on the Internet quickly and inexpensively.
"Startup2 for E-Business is like 'E-Commerce for Dummies,'" Peck said. "It has everything that a user needs in one box to get online and start their e-business."
The enhanced Startup2 includes the tools to go online to publish information, deal with credit cards, and maintain and host a Web site with IBM HomePage Creator for-business. Scheduled to ship in May, Startup2 for E-Business is priced at $29.99.
Notebooks for small business
IBM is also targeting small business users with its latest ThinkPad 390E notebook PCs.
The ThinkPad 390E 90U model includes a 300-MHz Celeron processor, a 12.1-inch thin-film transistor display, 32MB of memory, and a 3.2GB user upgradeable hard drive. This model costs $1899.
The ThinkPad 390E COU model features a 300-MHz Intel Mobile Pentium II processor and a 13.3-inch TFT display; it is priced at $2299.
Finally, the ThinkPad 390E DOU model adds a 14.1-inch active-matrix TFT display, 64MB of RAM, and an upgradeable 4.3GB hard drive. The DOU model costs $2699.
It's in the Vault
In related news, IBM launched its PC Data Vaulting service, which protects desktop and notebook PC data from disasters such as accidental deletion and corruption of files, system failure, or theft. This service automatically stores multiple copies of data in off-site locations. Files stored on the hard drive are automatically backed up to an IBM secure data center whenever the PC is connected to the Internet.
The PC Data Vaulting service can retrieve documents that have been deleted from a PC in 30 seconds over the Internet, IBM said. In the event of a system failure or theft, all contents of the user's hard drive can be delivered on a CD-ROM overnight. Available now, a subscription to the service costs $20 per month.
The IBM service uses file-comparison technology that backs up only the parts of files that have changed, allowing users to connect with dial-up or leased line, said James Sciales, an IBM spokesperson.
"The technology incorporated into the service is best-of-breed for backup scaled down for small businesses in order to level the playing field," said Sciales.
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